Kentucky Office of Rural Health announces elder wellness award recipients

Six Kentucky organizations — two hospitals, two health departments, a senior center and a nonprofit — have been awarded Elder Wellness and Enrichment Initiative Grants from the Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH).

The grants are designed to support nonprofit rural healthcare organizations and community-based organizations as they create or enhance services for older adults — to help them age in place in rural Kentucky. Each organization will receive $5,000. Grant recipients include:

  • AdventHealth Manchester, which will conduct home assessments, and identify and complete home repair projects for older community members.
  • Bourbon County Senior Center, in Paris, which will prepare and deliver weekday meals to county residents aged 60 and older.
  • Community Agricultural Nutritional Enterprises, Inc., in Whitesburg, which will prepare and deliver meals to elders who are forced to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure or positive tests.
  • Mercy Health-Marcum and Wallace Hospital, in Irvine, which will offer healthy food vouchers to food insecure seniors in its service area.
  • Pennyrile District Health Department, in Eddyville, which will develop and offer educational programming for elders during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Woodford County Health Department, in Versailles, which will recruit and train volunteers to reach out by phone to older residents who may be socially isolated.

“The diversity of projects that we’re able to fund through this grant is impressive,” said KORH Director Ernie Scott. “These six organizations — and the projects they plan to carry out — demonstrate a clear commitment to improving the health and wellness of older residents in Kentucky’s rural communities. We’re proud to support this work and we look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will have on community members.”

Projects funded through the Elder Wellness and Enrichment Initiative Grants could be entirely new or build upon existing services; however, they had to be innovative and potentially serve as a best practice to be shared in Kentucky and with other states.

Grant recipients are also required to collaborate with at least one additional rural stakeholder in their community or region: a critical access hospital, a small rural hospital, a rural health clinic, a federally qualified health center, a local health department or an EMS service.

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), established in 1991, is a federal-state partnership authorized by federal legislation. The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, located in Hazard, serves as the federally designated Kentucky Office of Rural Health. KORH works directly with clinicians, clinic and hospital administrators, policymakers and other stakeholders to improve the accessibility of healthcare services for the Commonwealth’s rural and underserved residents. The office connects communities and healthcare organizations to local, state and federal resources while working toward long-term solutions to financial, quality improvement and workforce challenges.